The Magpie Goose has a black neck and head, with a characteristic knob on the crown (larger in males), which increases in size with age. The underparts are white, with contrasting black edges on the under wing. The bill, legs and feet are orange. The Magpie Goose differs from most waterfowl in having strongly clawed toes that are webbed only on their basal halves (i.e. only partly webbed). Females are slightly smaller than males.
The Magpie Goose is widespread throughout coastal northern and eastern Australia.
The Magpie Goose can live up to 32 years old.
The average head and body length is about 82 centimetres.
The Magpie Goose is a specialised feeder with wild rice, Oryza, Paspalum, Panicum and spike-rush.
The Magpie Goose is seen in floodplains and wet grasslands. Some individuals, mostly younger birds, may be seen at quite long distances inland.
Breeding season is during February to June. The nest is almost single-handedly constructed by the male. It usually consists of a simple unlined cup placed either in a floating platform of trampled reeds or built in tree-tops. Pairs of geese mate for life, but a male may have two females. The females will produce 8 - 10 large, oval, off-white coloured eggs each. All adults share incubation and care for the young.